Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
3 cups|750 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ounce fresh basil leaves
8 slices good bread, sliced 3/4-inch thick
8 ounces|225 grams sliced aged cheddar
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the garlic and onion and cook until soft, 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 2 minutes more. Add the stock, sugar, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, then stir in half of the butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper cool slightly, then either transfer to a blender with the basil to blend in batches, or purée using a stick blender. Return to the stovetop and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425°F. Brush the bread all over with the remaining butter and top each piece of bread with a slice of cheese (about 1 ounce). Cook until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is lightly golden, 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Divide the soup among bowls and serve with the cheesy bread.